Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located on the north shore of Long Island in eastern Nassau County in the Town of Oyster Bay. It is 20 miles east of New York City and 5 miles west of Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge. The major refuge holdings are in Oyster Bay Harbor and the western portion of Cold Spring Harbor. The waters of Oyster Bay surround Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, home of Theodore Roosevelt, the founder of the first national wildlife refuge.
Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge was donated to the Service by the Town of Oyster Bay in 1968 as a habitat for migratory birds, particularly wintering waterfowl. The refuge, totaling 3,204 acres from the bay bottom up to mean high water, is located on the north shore of Long Island. Oyster Bay refuge is unique in the National Wildlife Refuge System, serving as a marine refuge rather than the more traditional terrestrial refuge; it comprises the waters and marshes of Oyster Bay and Cold Spring harbors. This refuge is open to the public.
Oyster Bay NWR is located on the north shore of eastern Nassau County and is only accessible by boat. This 3,209-acre area includes bay, salt marsh and freshwater wetlands, and is especially important for wintering waterfowl and a variety of waterbirds. The refuge waters are open 24 hours a day. Contact the Town of Oyster Bay for mooring and boat lunch information.
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Oyster Bay has the greatest winter waterfowl use of any of the Long Island national wildlife refuges. The numbers of waterfowl using Oyster Bay are lowest from May through August, and start to increase in September and October. Puddle ducks such as black ducks, gadwall, and mallards start migrating to the refuge in early autumn, and their diversity begins to increase in November. Waterfowl numbers peak and remain high from December through March, then decline in April.